Gas pumpEnlarge Photo
Even the automaker lobbying group didn't go this far in their complaints about emission and fuel-economy rules for vehicles in the 2022 through 2025 model years.
When the Obama Administration approved final EPA emission rules for those years, the automakers complained that the comment period had been cut short.
They didn't seriously suggest that the rules should be rolled back, increasing emissions and lowering fuel economy to the levels of earlier years.
The comment period on those EPA rules has now been reopened, and NHTSA is starting to consider its fuel-economy rules for the same period—which must align with the EPA rules.
In recent months, both agencies have suggested they are considering not just delaying or freezing the rules, but possibly rolling back the requirements to 2021 levels.
What happens on a regulatory level in Washington, D.C., doesn't get as much attention in the media as presidential controversies, but in some ways it may have a greater impact on everyday life.
What will happen to U.S. fuel-economy rules through 2025?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) September 11, 2017
If emission rules that continually reduced vehicular emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, are delayed, modified, or rolled back, the U.S. will not cut its carbon emissions as fast as planned.
From a consumer point of view, new vehicles will burn more gasoline or diesel fuel, costing buyers of those cars more.
So we have a new Twitter poll live this week, asking our followers what they think will happen in the end to the fuel-economy rules now being drafted by the NHTSA.
While both federal agencies are required to use science in setting their policies, the general tenor of climate-science denial among at least some key cabinet members doesn't necessarily bode well for retaining the existing rules.
BMW ActiveE electric car in front of old gas pumps, Belvidere, NJ [photo: Tom Moloughney]Enlarge Photo
We're curious to know how you think the political game—and inevitable lawsuits if the rules are rolled back—will play out.
Bear in mind that automakers hate uncertainty, and they have already invested in the technologies to meet the rules that have been in place since 2012.
Also, regardless of what happens in the U.S. (which is no longer the world's largest car market), China and Europe have no intention of trimming back their own, aggressive carbon-reduction efforts.
As always, we're well aware the results of our Twitter polls aren't scientific, due both to low sample size and also self-selection by the participants.
Still, we think they can offer directional indicators for future trends—and the comments and debates on the articles and the poll are often as interesting as the raw results themselves.
Visit our Twitter poll and tell us what you think will happen.